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LR and EAL management support for VGP compliance



LR EAL and VGP compliance

Just a link to a webinar we did a few years ago to show support for the compliance issues surrounding EAL’s


Summers arrived… I think.. but what about after?

Taking time to take time


As I sit here to write a few lines about where I am in regard to the world of work, my mind keeps jumping to the fact that the undercoat on the front door is probably dry now and that I could add the top coat. But as it’s raining, only slightly you understand, it may not be the best time to start to paint. But then I remind myself that the front door is within a porch and as such because it’s not that windy, the rain would not be a problem, oh and the door opens inward so I would not be painting it when it was closed and likely to get wet.

Do you see my problem? Probably not! You may be thinking I wish I had that problem.

I am loving being here with the family and getting to do all the jobs that I wanted to do and being flexible and carefree, but in the back of my mind, there is a nagging fact that this is only a temporary situation. Therefore, I cannot truly relax.

My plan remains to stay out of the loop until the end of the school summer holidays, I can just about manage that. But I know that I will not be able to enjoy the summer holidays unless I can have a plan for what happens after, so I need to make that plan now and have some paid work, or the expectation of it at least and I need to do that now. But this is a problem because I want to enjoy the time off and not spend it working out how to get going afterwards, do you follow. so whilst I am writing this blog all I want to do is finish the paint job on the door but I can’t do that whilst this is …. you get it!

So I am getting a company formed and I will be trading this year and I hope that I can get enough work to allow me to take the odd few days off to paint the odd door – metaphorically speaking – So now I will go and paint this one! At least that’s one job fewer to worry about! 🙂


That’s better! Still got to scrape off the odd overspill but job done!

BiNDT Comadit Prize Winner 2013

Awarded to
any research worker or group of named research workers for a significant contribution through research and development in any branch of Condition Monitoring to the benefit of industry or society.

This was jointly awarded to Danny Shorten (Lloyd’s Register) and Steve  Greenfield (Eaton Aerospace) for their separate contributions to the field of Condition Monitoring.

In regard to my work this was linked directly with the creation of a cross technology qualification of marine engineers who have an existing competence set but are not necessarily following a path to become a CM specialist .

The Marine Machinery Condition Monitoring qualification meets the necessary ISO requirements for the training and certification for mariners engaged in multi-disciplined CM activities or those external contractors who wish to also demonstrate a cross party competence. In addition the training elements have been aligned to MNTB learning requirements.

As the marine world is edging towards a cultural shift away from traditional time based schedules to one based upon sensor data and condition analysis and analytics, this accreditation offer shipping companies a ready method of referencing competence for any stakeholder such as classification or port state control etc.


A new begining

Awesome Shortenat

As of the 1st February 2016 I will be taking the family on an adventure called “Time Out”. This is where we see if we can survive with no income whilst we regroup and refocus to determine what  it is we want out of life.

You may not be aware that over the last 4 years Rosie has battled with and, we hope,  won the breast cancer war. A huge topic, not worthy of a canny one-liner, but one that is very much an individual experience for both the patient and their loved ones.

She was brilliant throughout, my love and admiration for her multiplied manyfold as whilst she suffered the routine indignities of weekly hospitalisation, the sickness brought on by chemotherapy, the hair loss and the massively traumatic and invasive surgery to remove the whole breast and much of the lymph nodes on one side. Then the radiotherapy, which is a relatively indiscriminate cell killing death ray, though the most effective option we had available at the time. She rarely got upset or angry, shed few tears, least not shared. She focused mainly upon Tilly who was the main priority, thus to allow me to maintain some semblance of work capability.

So in the eye of the storm you focus upon the immediate threat and prioritise accordingly. My employers were very supportive and our friends locally, stepped up where they could, some incredibly, others less so but still being very supportive.

We got through it, but somehow, “we”, “us”, our togetherness got lost along the way. Don’t get me wrong we are still tight, but we are not two halves of the same thing anymore. We are part of this family, but we are not so well aligned or aware of each other like we used to be. So what I am trying to say is that “we” need to fix that and “we”need to do it now. If we carry on and wait until later then it may be too late to fix. Some make claims regarding the statistics of marriage break up around critical illness as many marriages disintegrate under the pressure. In the general population, the lifetime divorce rate is roughly 50 percent; for chronically ill people, the rate is 75 percent. So I get it, I can see how it changes you and how you can drift apart.

We have thus taken the opportunity to fix this and to see if we can’t come back even better than we were before and not only defeat the odds but reverse them.

Now that will be a success story worth blogging.

The problem with EAL’s

The problem with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants is frankly nothing to do with the lubricants at all.
The problem is with the societal rules that say it’s ok to speak in half truths and use misdirection.
The owners don’t want it because they see no benefit for it, the lub. oil companies see it as an opportunity to sell niche products at higher margins, especially excited are the smaller specialist firms who normally don’t get access to the majors but know they can “compete” on a level playing field. But it’s not at all level and not all companies are as concerned about technical performance as they are too busy trying to sell what they have rather than develop products that BOTH meet the regulations and are technically robust in operation for each given application.

The world of the EAL is actually well defined, albeit a bit complicated to the layman, but the term biodegradable is rather poorly understood.

Take Uranium – technically speaking it is degradable as it will in time become benign from a radioactive perspective, but this will take many thousands of years. On the other hand milk which is altogether benign and in everyday use, bio-degrades in days and as a result become of little use. Other materials degrade as a result of biodegradation in ways that can be measured. Mineral oil for instance will biodegrade in the standard OECD 28 day test for biodegradability by about 25%, whereas truly useful oils will demonstrate biodegradability in the same test by values in excess of 85%.

Also biodegradability in of itself is not always desirable – as if one emptied a drum of readily biodegradable milk into a fish pond the demand for oxygen will likely result in insufficient oxygen being present to sustain the fish !

What the discerning shipping company should recognise is that the EAL “problem” may well be an opportunity in disguise. It may be an opportunity to reduce costs! As fully saturated synthetic esters (the better ones for EAL applications), can often sustain greater sump lives as they are more robust in regard to oxidation, they are often better lubricants under boundary conditions reducing wear and they should be, of course, fully compliant with EPA VGP requirements which means they MAY be a candidate for rationalisation of grades – reducing the number of products on board.

However, a cautionary note for machinery designers –

For some interesting background to oil types see below.,-where-are-we-now-under-the-2013-vgp

As the case for CBM isn’t strong enough – what about this?

I think I may have had an epiphany, only a little one mind!

In these austere times most minds are focused upon taking cost out of the business. None more so than in the marine industry! Therefore long term improvements that may not deliver any tangible win within the usual financial periods will probably not be considered worth focusing upon for investment approval. I wouldn’t do it so why would anyone else?

I do know that the whole of the CM community struggles with defining a robust cost benefit analysis, so I may have a solution – a really simple one!

1 – The introduction of condition monitoring is traditionally implemented back to front – i.e. someone buys some kit and tries to see if it will add value. Mostly it won’t, unless by some lucky coincidence, they uncover many machines that they did not know were in need of maintenance and as a result pick up a quick win early on.

2 – Up to a third of the worlds fleet are already equipped with a vast array of data gathering devices which are built in to meet the needs of various standards and regulations and basic engineering watch keeping.

3 – A great many of these data streams are poorly managed and are only utilised because of tradition. It is quite feasible to consider using these for other purposes such as routine performance monitoring – shall we call this Condition Based Operation or CBO (I think his is a recognised term). 

4 – So if we can add value by simply offering a higher level of data manipulation to this existing set of data we can look to manage the day to day operational performance in certain areas.

5 – What if the same data set could also be manipulated to build in some functionality for Condition Based Maintenance? Surely this is simply reviewing the diagnostic output for a different outcome or motive.

Now what I see here is for the company that would like to get in to CM and CBM but cannot justify the required investment capital and change management costs.

To spin it simply and make it easy for even the CEO to get their heads around – We can improve the operational cost base by using existing data to identify areas of weakness where we are wasting money unnecessarily, time, fuel, effort etc. nice and easy cost benefit analysis to present. …….Oh and by the way we can initiate a CBM development programme for free as a result. So the company can start to look at making the necessary evolutionary changes to integrate CM and CBM into the workflow.

My only caveat here would be to ensure that as part of this evolutionary event that the company is encouraged to consider its business strategy and the positive and negative impacts that would be attractive to them and those which they would wish to avoid. This could then drive any development and be used to evaluate any gaps for later investment.

What do you think – do we have a subtle game changer here?